VIRGINIA BEACH — Motorists might have a little bit of relief at the pump this week.
Average gas prices in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia are hovering around $2.62, according to a news release from AAA.
“If this past week’s moderate increases are any indicator of what’s to come, the rapid rate at which gas prices were increasing may be slowing down,” said Georjeane Blumling, spokeswoman for AAA Tidewater Virginia, in a news release. “On the week, the national average held steady and 19 state averages remained flat or saw decreases in gas prices. Despite this stability, drivers on the West Coast and in Idaho, Utah and Pennsylvania are paying $3 per gallon.”
The average price of $2.62, represents a 15-cent increase from last month and a 46-cent increase from last year.
Information about the current gas prices can be found at AAA’s website.
The average price nationwide is $2.81 per gallon.
Gas prices usually rise between April and September because that is when Americans traditionally hit the road for vacation and refineries switch over to higher-priced “summer” gasoline, which is blended to reduce smog.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. driver can expect to pay $190 — or 14 percent — more for gas this summer.
The biggest reason for higher gas prices, experts say, is an increase in crude oil prices, which recently topped $70 per barrel, about $20 more per barrel than last year.
The U.S. Department of Energy offers the following tips to help drivers save on gasoline:
• Drive the speed limit. Every 5 mph over 60 mph costs an additional 24 cents per gallon of gas.
• Avoid idling, which burns fuel unnecessarily.
• Check tire pressure. Keeping tires properly inflated can save up to 11 cents per gallon.
• Combine errands into one trip — a vehicle uses less fuel when the engine is warmed up during a longer trip, versus when starting it cold for several short trips.
• Telecommute, carpool or use public transportation.
• If buying a new vehicle, choose an efficient one.